3 Jaw or 4 Jaw

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Forum topic by greatview posted 03-25-2017 11:21 AM 831 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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135 posts in 3967 days

03-25-2017 11:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe

Woodcraft has the Nova G3 chuck on sale for $79 and it is a 4 jaw chuck. Many years ago it seems as if all (or most) 4 jaw chucks offered independent action for each jaw while 3 jaw chucks the jaws moved together. Generally, one would use a 3 jaw chuck on round work and the 4 jaw chuck would handle square or rectangular work or allow off center turning of round stock.

From what I can see, the G3 has jaws that operate together and all 4 move together. I guess this is fine for round or square stock but what does one do if you want a traditional, independent 4 jaw action?

Grizzly has this for $35.95. Could that be any good?

-- Tom, New London, NH

9 replies so far

View TheDane's profile (online now)


5829 posts in 4473 days

#1 posted 03-25-2017 12:31 PM

I wouldn’t touch either a 3-jaw chuck or a chuck that has independently adjustable jaws.

3-jaw chucks do not have the holding power that 4-jaw chucks have, and having to adjust jaws individually would be a real PITA.

4-jaw scroll chucks have the advantage of self-centering the workpiece, and are available with serrated or dovetail jaws that provide a positive hold.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View OSU55's profile


2651 posts in 2799 days

#2 posted 03-25-2017 12:51 PM

What is it that you want to do that you think an independently adjustable chuck is good for? Just curious because I haven’t found it yet. I use a 4 jaw scroll chuck to hold slightly rectangular shaped wood to turn a tenon the chuck can hold better. In your chuck search include the Barracuda2 or 4 from PSI tools. They come with several jaw sets unlike most others, and are a much better value.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7874 posts in 3724 days

#3 posted 03-25-2017 01:01 PM

Tom, You haven’t said what lathe you are using. I have the Delta 46-460, and I purchased the Nova G3-D chuck for this lathe. My lathe also operates in reverse. The G3-D chuck has two allen set-screws that hold the chuck in place for that reverse action. This chuck works well for my spindle turning. Gerry also had this lathe at one time. I think he eventually progressed to a larger lathe systm…

Food for thought…

Delta Industrial 46-461 Reversible Nova G3-D Woodturning Chuck
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
Price: $145.33 & FREE Shipping.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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1243 posts in 2805 days

#4 posted 03-25-2017 01:32 PM

Four jaw independent chucks are used to create eccentric turnings. At least, that is what you use them for in metal work. There is often a lot of fussing to get things lined up just the way you want, which is a drawback, but it does add some functionality. Trade offs…..


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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135 posts in 3967 days

#5 posted 03-25-2017 01:36 PM

I don’t know what I’ll use a chuck for at this time. Seems like a useful thing to have and the Woodcraft price seems fair. I’ve got a very old Delta lathe that I bought at an auction maybe 40 years ago (Perhaps a 46-305). I had to have a spindle made as the original was split probably due to too much force on the Morse taper and, before the Internet, it was difficult to find parts. It doesn’t get much use but is nice to have when I need to turn something. And I’m just curious about the different chucks.

-- Tom, New London, NH

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13442 posts in 3190 days

#6 posted 03-25-2017 06:19 PM

Buy the G3. Step jaw chucks are for metal. If you ever need one for wood they’ll still be for sale.

-- Rick M,

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2111 days

#7 posted 03-26-2017 02:24 PM

The G3 is a very good chuck (I have four). That is also a good price at Woodcraft. However, if you buy it at Woodcraft make sure the insert is a real Nova oem. WC also sells knock-offs and may cause run out. A real Nova will come in a red Teknatool box. They will not come in a “baggie”. If they don’t have a real Nova insert order one from Amazon or any other place.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View xunil76's profile


31 posts in 1274 days

#8 posted 03-27-2017 12:49 PM

Tom, do yourself a favor and take a look at the PSI Barracuda 2 that OSU55 mentioned. it is twice the price of the Nova chuck on sale….but! get the chuck, 4 sets of jaws, key-style tightening system, a worm screw, an adapter to go from the chuck’s native 1” x 8TPI threading to 3/4” x 16TPI threading, a t-handle allen wrench for swapping the jaws out, and a (admittedly, cheap) carrying/storage case to put it all in.

while the included case may be cheap, the rest of the kit is very nice, and is a great value at only $140. with the nova, you’ll end up spending probably 3 – 4 times the cost of the chuck alone by the time you bought everything that is included in the Barracuda 2 chuck system.

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135 posts in 3967 days

#9 posted 03-27-2017 01:21 PM

Well, it looks to me that the Penn State chuck is the better buy. The Woodcraft price of $79.99 doesn’t include the insert which is another $20-$25 or so totaling $100.00 or more. The Penn State chuck will fit my lathe and comes with extra jaws and is on sale at $139.99. So, it seems that I’ll go with the Penn State CSC3000C.

Thanks for the advice and help.

-- Tom, New London, NH

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